Academics communicate at speed. Their vocabulary is technical and extensive. Their life experiences are very different to the average year 5 pupil. They have different education experiences and expectations. All of this makes it surprising that I have long advocated the use of Skype in the classroom; each time I use this medium I see new advantages.
Today at Rufford Primary School our year 5 class skyped Dr Ross Church from the Department of Astronomy and Theoretical Physics at Lund University in Sweden. The topic this half term has been “Space”.
We organised the morning by having three sessions: a classroom session on how to conduct yourself online and remain safe, a session about Dr Church and his work and we finished with an open Q and A on anything about space.
Technically, the Skype call was not without difficulties as the video quality was variable so we finished the session using IM to ask any outstanding questions. The children were really tolerant when the video quality deteriorated. They were genuinely interested in Dr. Church and what he shared with them. They listened carefully and were able to respond with follow up questions. They really liked having their questions answered immediately by an expert; they voted it better than books and Google. Terms like “Spaghettification” and the importance of looking for plants on stars and planets will be remembered for ever.
We would all like to say a huge “THANK-YOU” to Dr. Church for sharing his time and expertise with us. It was a great end to our Space project.